Major League Baseball deputy commissioner Dan Halem reportedly said during a meeting with the Players Association on Monday that the league is willing to lose regular-season games over the outstanding issues in CBA discussions, according to The Athletic's Evan Drellich.
Whether Halem was issuing a threat, or merely providing a statement of the obvious—the owners did start a lockout, after all, and there's been no agreement since, so what else would happen if there's no movement?—depends on whom you ask. Some on the players' side indeed thought it was notable that Halem would verbalize the possibility of missing games, that it did amount to a threat, while the commissioner's office disagreed.
Drellich added that MLB remains displeased with the proposed cuts to revenue sharing in the MLBPA's latest offer. He wrote "there's no indication" the league is willing to make alterations to the revenue sharing system.
MLB is positioning both revenue sharing and time to arbitration as third-rail issues. Whether the MLBPA eventually accepts those positions, and could find a way to accomplish what it wants without touching those areas, is a major question.
ESPN's Jeff Passan initially reported that the league and Players Association are set to meet again on Tuesday "after a Monday bargaining session led to the first sliver of progress between the sides since the league locked the players out Dec. 2."
Before the lockout began, MLB asked the Players Association to remove three things from its wishlist, including changing the six-year reserve period before free agency, lowering arbitration eligibility to two years and adjusting revenue sharing.
During their meeting on Monday, the MLBPA dropped its request for age-based free agency and slashed the amount of revenue sharing it asked MLB to take away from small-market teams, Passan reported.
In addition, the Players Association rejected three proposals MLB made during the first post-lockout meeting. The league offered a formula-based salary for between two and three years of service time, a draft-pick reward related to the success who started on Opening Day rosters and making all non-playoff teams eligible to receive a top-three pick, Passan noted.
Passan also reported the union proposed a rise in the league minimum salary to $775,000, the institution of an eight-team draft lottery and a $245 million base luxury tax threshold.
The regular season is currently set to begin on March 31. A new CBA would likely have to be in place by the beginning of March in order for the season to start on time. This would allow players time to ramp up activity and teams to conduct offseason business before the festivities begin.